Murmur*

In sound art, we frequently find reference to either the soundscape or landscape created by a piece. Sound is incredibly effective at simulating the sensation of an entirely new, imaginary space or of a new space being folded within an existing one. My work is interested in the exploration of these imaginary spaces and enfolded spaces. It questions what is the foreground vs the background; it is fascinated by the relationship between the abstract and the concrete, the stream vs the event. However, I am perhaps most interested in who or what lives in these new spaces. What beings subsist in invented landscapes? Are they solitary? Do they speak? How do they move? The presence of the Other creates the possibility to transform as opposed simply to transport. There is a violence and a vulnerability within this.

'Murmur' is a full word. It dervies from the Latin for 'rustling'. In its inactive form it means "a low, indistinct, continuous sound: "the murmur of the waves". As an action, it commonly describes the disposition of an individual "an indistinct, whispered, or confidential complaint". It conjures both an anonymous grouping (the crowd) and a personal disposition (through the whisper). All of the sounds you hear in this piece were created from combing signals from field recordings of starlings and very short (.25-2 second) samples of solo instruments. In its very material the piece is intensely interested in the relationship of the individual and the flock/swarm/crowd.

For Gilles Deleuze, the murmur of the other fills in the world. For him, the Other creates the structure of perception. Before I encounter the Other my world is solipsistic, black or white, if I am not looking at it-- then it does not exist. The Other fills the world with possibility. Even though I can not see what is behind me, the Other is able to and can shout 'watch out!'. In this way, the murmuring of the Other is benevolent. The experience of place is also filtered, structured by the Other. And in some instances, it is my intuition, that the murmuring of the Other actually becomes a place. This is perhaps best represented in the figure of the crowd, flock, or swarm.

Where are the thresholds where we shift perception from the sub-individual to the individual to the swarm? How does a crowd have a character or style? When does a crowd become a place? When do we perceive intention? When do we perceive coordination? How does communication operate? How does this alter my interpretation of a place? What do we identify as a stream? What do we identify as an event? What sort of coincidence or juxtaposition is necessary for us to consider a group of events to be connected to one another as opposed to sequential or accidental?

*Visuals by Amanda Justice

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